Personal profile


Felicity is interested in how the genome functions in naturally evolving organisms. 

  • What is the molecular basis of adaptation?
  • How does heritable genetic variation (e.g. mutations) affect cell fate and specialisation, organ function, and whole organism phenotypes, fitness, disease susceptibility and survival?
  • Which type of mutations and molecular mechanisms enable organisms to cope with environmental change, adapt to new environments and evolve into new species

She investigates these questions using threespine stickleback fish: a powerful model organism that bridges the gap between studying genetics and developmental biology in the lab and the natural populations in the wild. 

Using a variety of molecular techniques such as combining environmental manipulation with single-cell multiomics she studies how gene regulation, chromatin accessibilty, epigenomics and development differ among sticklebacks that have adapted and evolved to different marine and freshwater habitats. She couples this with studies of marine and freshwater sticklebacks in the wild - including hybrid zones across the Northern Hemisphere - to understand how genetic variation influences fitness and survival in the wild.

Over the course of her career she has worked at internationally renowned institutions in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Education/Academic qualification

Evolutionary Genetics, DFG Research Grant, Rapid adaptation in threespine stickleback fish: availability and constraints on standing genetic variation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


Award Date: 1-Sept-2015

Evolutionary Genetics, ERC Consolidator Grant, ERC Consolidator Grant - EvolRecombAdapt: Recombination in Adaptive Evolution, European Research Council


Award Date: 1-Sept-2014

Evolutionary Biology, PhD, Reproductive Isolation in Threespine Sticklebacks: Insights from a hybrid zone, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, The University of Edinburgh


Award Date: 12-Oct-2005

Biochemistry & Zoology, Bachelor of Science, Honours Class I, Species boundaries in the Australian Rainbowfish, The University of Queensland


Award Date: 26-Aug-1999

External positions

Max Planck Research Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Insitute, Tübingen, Germany


Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or